Wesleyan Covenant Association Thoughts from Randall Partin, Provost
 
Dear Friends and Colleagues in the New Mexico Annual Conference,   
     I spent last Friday in Chicago at the inaugural meeting of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). A helpful UMC news article about the WCA can be found here, and the official website of the WCA can be found here.
     My presence in Chicago was primarily in my role as Conference Provost and to listen and learn on behalf of my sisters and brothers in New Mexico and Far West Texas. While an invitation to join the WCA was offered at the event, I did not and do not intend to become a member of the WCA.
     The WCA seeks to be a gathered, membership-driven voice for renewal and reform of the Methodist movement, particularly from the traditional, conservative, and evangelical side of our connection. In the few short hours that we spent together, we experienced powerful worship, great preaching, and (primarily) a positive effort to ground this new organization in the authority of scripture, in the traditions and orthodoxy of the Church (particularly our Wesleyan heritage of social holiness and personal piety), in our global, world-wide connection, and in an evangelical mission to reach beyond ourselves with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
     The backdrop for this event, however, is the increasing uncertainty about the future of our denomination. This fall, a special Commission on Human Sexuality is being formed that is tasked with discerning a way forward for our Church, as we seem to be at an impasse with our disagreements over homosexuality.
     On Friday, the WCA presented and affirmed a "Chicago Statement" directed to the Commission asking that they move expeditiously and transparently, with the goal of offering at a special, called, world-wide General Conference (in early 2018) a solution to our conflicts over homosexuality that will "restore the good order of our church's polity." Failing that, the WCA asks that the Commission prepare a "plan of separation" allowing for persons of good conscience to "go forward in peace and good will."
     While the vast majority of our time together was positive, uplifting, and a full-throated support of a warm-hearted, authentic Wesleyan way of being church, the Chicago Statement, and the pending actions of the Commission and special General Conference will loom large for us all.
    On Friday, Rev. Jerry Kulah from Liberia proclaimed that our Church is at the crossroads. At the crossroads we must patiently wait for the wisdom of God in order to choose our future directions wisely, we must consider the paths of the saints who have gone before us, and we must call out to one another for guidance and direction. All United Methodists stand at these crossroads. We must all wait patiently upon the wisdom of God in our time, we must all consider the paths of the saints who have gone before us, and we must deliberately and intentionally call out to (and listen to) one another for guidance and direction.
     My hope as I returned home from the WCA gathering is (1) that we might all redouble our efforts to pray for our Church and its leaders-especially during this time of uncertainty at the crossroads-(2) that we might all call out to (and listen to) one another more intently, and that, (3) above all else, we would continually engage in the everyday, ordinary work of building relationships in our communities that make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
     If you'd like to have more information about my experience at the WCA, I'm available any time to share further reflections and takeaways. As always, I'm grateful for you and your ministry and I am blessed by our service together.
In Christ,
Randall
Randall Partin, Provost
   

Retired Clergy & their Spouses Share their Stories
      On Monday, October 10th, approximately 30 retired clergy & their spouses got together in Albuquerque. Bishop Bledsoe expressed the need for retired pastors to continue to be engaged in the NM Conference & share their stories, especially in these challenging times.  Randall Partin, Provost also expressed this need, using comparisons to communities of wise elders in history and fiction.  He quoted Maxie Dunnam from his recent talk at the WCA meeting, that oftentimes, God has "outwitted" us and may yet be "outwitting" us in these times.  Expressions from our elders, remembering how God worked through our trials in the past are valuable tales to tell. 
     Will Steinsiek, Archivist provided an interactive workshop to help retired clergy think about how they might share their stories.  It was a time of laughter and learning.  Alli Costello, Communications Director shared some ideas for bringing these stories to wider audiences in a secure ways through blogs, Facebook and smart phone video.  In the future, we will provide additional information to help retired clergy begin to chronicle their memoirs. 
     Following lunch, Bishop Bledsoe requested the formation of a Retired Clergy Association to help retired clergy organize and maintain their connection to the Conference.  Those present voted to form such an organization and elected Rev. Linda Mizell as their President, Rev. Scott Penrod as VP and Rev. Dave Ring as Secretary.   Contact Will Steinsiek at 505-255-8786, ext. 116 or nmarchives@nmconfum.com or Alli Costello at 505-255-8786, ext. 111 or alli@nmconfum.com.
 
Retired Clergy Stories Meeting 
Retired Clergy Meeting

Sacramento Camp & Conference Center has a New Website!

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NEXT 2016 - November 4 - 6, 2016


NEXT 2016 is a high energy gathering of dreamers, activists and difference makers putting their gifts to use in real, effective ways.  It's part motivation, part inspiration, and all about action.  Set in a gorgeous venue, in a city known worldwide for its fast pace, diversity and growth. 
Click here 

Stop predatory lending: A statement from Bishop Ough 
During the NMAC 2016, Randall discussed this issue of predatory lending.  Dakotas Annual Conference passed a resolution to combat excessive payday lending. 
 
     United Methodists in the Dakotas, like United Methodists around the world, embrace a "rule of life" handed down to us from John Wesley, the founder of our evangelical, spiritual and social holiness movement.  The core elements of this "rule of life" are:                                                                        
Do no harm,
Do good, and
Stay in love with God.
     These core truths are expressed in one way or another by every faith tradition.  These are the core truths that give rise to the United Methodist Church's firm and unwavering position against excessive payday lending.
     At the twenty-third session of the Dakotas Annual Conference, the body approved a resolution concerning predatory lending in South Dakota. Members voted to become a coalition partner with South Dakotans for Responsible Lending. You can   read the full resolution beginning on page 39 of the 2016 Journal Volume I.
  Read the full article

Don't be Shy!  Let your pastor know how much they mean to you!
 

Upcoming Events
October   
Oct. 19 - Healthflex Presentation - St. Mark's UMC, El Paso 
Postponed - Coaching - Basic Training 
November 
Nov. 4-5 - Lay Servant School - FUMC, Belen 
Nov. 7-11 - Prep for Prof. Coaching Cert. Training - Sacramento
Nov. 18-19 - CCYM - Sacramento (Bishop Preaching)
Nov. 24-25 - Conference Office Closed
Nov. 29 - UMC #Giving Tuesday
 
December 
Dec. 23 & 26 - Conference Office Closed for Christmas
Dec. 30 - Conference Office Closed for New Year's Eve
January 
Jan. 2 - Conference Office Closed for New Year's Day

February
Feb. 19 - Mountainside UMC's 50th Anniversary - Bishop Preaching
Feb. 20- 22 - Mid-Winter Clergy Retreat - Sacramento
Annual Conference - May 31 - June 2, 2017 

Click here for the Conference Calendar

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RELEVANT, PASSIONATE, AND LIFE-CHANGING CHURCHES

New Mexico Annual Conference  

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Please send photos, articles, events, etc. to Alli Costello, Communications Director at alli@nmconfum.com.  Send classified ads to frontdesk@nmconfum.com.